Tuesday, August 26, 2008

WFMW: Finding a Babysitter

I used to have the worst time trying to find a sitter for daytime, until I found a gold mine: the College of Education at my local university. I made a flyer with the following information:

Sitter needed for (number and ages of children).

When needed (on a regular basis, occasional, or both)

References required!

I placed my contact info prominently on the flyer in the body of the message as well as included several "tear-off" tabs with my contact info at the bottom. (This was handy after all the tear-off tabs were gone.)

I then put the flyers up all over the education building at the local university, then the calls started rolling in! I had potential sitters who were majoring in child development, child psychology, early childhood education, education, you name it! (This was so wildly successful that I eventually had to go back and take all the flyers down!)

I interviewed each person by phone (see link below for sample questions), then called the references (minimum of 2, but preferably 3) for the best candidates. (See other link below for sample questions to ask references.)

Questions to ask a potential sitter

Questions to ask references

Once I had chosen a few sitters, I had them over separately to meet my children and see how they interacted together.

For those sitters who made the final cut, I tried to rotate them every time I needed a sitter so my kids would get used to them.

Other babysitter ideas:

These days, I am really blessed to have a wonderful homeschooled girl who lives only 5 minutes away who has done 99% of our babysitting since we moved here. Homeschoolers are the BEST sitters, because they are often flexible and more available than other sitters. Also, many have young siblings and are very experienced with children. Best of all, the vast majority of homeschoolers I know are very respectful, dependable, and have strong moral values.

Another thing worth mentioning is that of the pre-teen homeschooler who is mature and responsible, but too young to babysit. (These are the most eager helpers you will ever encounter!) There are many times I've asked a 10- to 12-year-old girl to come be a mother's helper for an hour or two so I could get some major projects done. It's win-win: she gains valuable experience and you get something done (all the while training a future sitter!) This was invaluable when I was working on THE DRESS. Screech is such a handful, but having someone to read to her and entertain her makes all the difference in the world!

Here are my previous WFMW posts:

Charging a Cell Phone
Swim/Shower with a Cast
Free Tech Support
Calming Injured Children
Choosing a Phone Number
What NOT to Soak Contacts In
Broken Glass Cleanup
Cheap Rolling Cart for Conventions
Chocolate Recipes
Tooth-Tugging Tip for Terrified Tots
Handy Earache Relief
Uses for Leftover Bread
Leaky Diaper/Pull-up Fix
Snack Mix Recipe (at the end of the post)
Awesome Stain Recipe
(at the end of the post)
"Fun"damentals of Family Life
Removing Wite-Out from Everything
When NOT to Save Money
Public Service Announcement

For more WFMW tips, stop by Shannon's blog.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aaaaaugh!!! There's No Escape!!!!

Our babysitter loves to tell us all the cute things the kids do and say. Recently she told us that when she was playing Trivial Pursuit Junior with the older two, Drama Queen was struggling with the question, "Name a state which is named for someone famous." She thought and thought, then suddenly she brightened and shouted, "Hannah Montana"!

(Sigh. My work is cut out for geography this year!)

Good grief! There is no escaping this girl. We don't own Hannah Montana anything. Drama Queen has never watched the show even once. I think the only way to get away from Hannah Montana is to boycott Wal-Mart. And the mall. Well, all stores.

Sheesh. The Amish really have the right idea on some things.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I'm a Rebel!

I was raised to be ultra-frugal. It's in my genes. I had a great aunt who washed and reused plastic wrap. When we cleaned out her apartment after she passed away, we found a vintage box of Glad Wrap (likely an original from 1966). I think it's the only box she ever bought.

It used to be extremely hard for me to throw things away. Everything - toilet paper tubes, Crystal Light containers, the stiff piece of white cardboard that comes inside a new pair of pantyhose - could have a potential use when you're crafty and you have kids. The mere thought of throwing away a new strip of twist ties, even when I have a drawer full of hundreds thousands of them, causes me to twitch.

So, why don't I feel guilty for throwing out a handful of markers just because they're not washable?

Hmmmmm . . why, indeed . . .

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Going Postal Over Peaches

For the first time recently, I ventured over to the local, heavily-hyped farmer's market in search of peaches. I was so looking forward to them because there were none when we moved here last year due to a late frost.

Now, when you think of "farmer's market," what do you think of?

Produce!!!! Yes, those things called fruits and vegetables. Just the things you would expect to find at a FARMER'S market.

As I listened to some earthy music, I found handmade jewelry.

I found homemade soaps.

I found herbs and breads.

I even found some espresso and overpriced smoothies.

Funny, I didn't find any produce.

No cantaloupes.

No red potatoes.

No green beans.

No squash.

No watermelons.

And, HELLO, here we are in the great state of Georgia, and NO PEACHES?????!!!!!!!

Okay. In all fairness, there were a couple of people peddling some yummy-looking tomatoes, but that was it.

I finally found peaches a half hour away, and they were pretty tasty. We're near the end of the season, so I look forward to trying more varieties next summer.

I just packaged some peaches to mail to some very special people, and I went to great lengths to write in HUGE letters on EVERY surface of the box:


And what, pray tell, does the postal worker do with it?

She throws it. In. The. Bin.

I'm surprised that it's always the postal workers who go cuckoo and not the customers.


Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Scary, Scary, Scary!

Screech's thing to say lately is, "That's scary, scary, scary!" (I think we have another Drama Queen on our hands!)

We had a moment that was "scary, scary scary" this morning. Hubby woke me at 6:00 AM and said, "I don't want to alarm you, but do you know where Pete is?"

I'm wide awake.

The last time we saw him was when we tucked him in bed. (Of course, my mind is racing, thinking of JonBenet Ramsey, Elizabeth Smart, and Polly Klaas.)

I asked if he checked between the wall and his bed, as he is always falling out of bed and sleeps so deeply that he usually continues sleeping wherever he falls. Of course, he had already checked all over his room and closet. We ran all over the house checking every room and closet.

Bathrooms - no Pete.

Kitchen - no Pete.

Living room -
no Pete.

Screech's room
- no Pete.

Drama Queen's room
- no Pete.

Closets - no Pete.

Homeschool and computer rooms
- no Pete.

Laundry room
- no Pete.

Attic - no Pete.

- no Pete.

All the doors are still locked.
We are trying not to freak out, but we cannot figure out where he could have gone. Just when we were getting ready to call 911, Drama Queen comes out of her room.

"Are you looking for Pete?" she asks.

Um, YEAH!!!!!!!!!

She proceeded to show us a little pallet she had made under her desk - which was hidden by a toy box - where Pete lay sleeping soundly with not a care in the world. She told us that he came to her room during the night and told her that his room made him have bad dreams. Little mother that she is, she took him in.

"He just went right to sleep," she said.


What a sweet, caring sister! What a precious brother-sister bond they have!

What a couple of stinkers they are.

The story unraveled a little while later when I went in to get them up. That's when I saw a large, homemade banner that said:


I asked Pete, "Did you really have bad dreams?"

He thought for a moment, then replied sheepishly, "Drama Queen planned it."

Of course, we missed every sign there was:

- Pete's bed was neatly made (he always does this as soon as he gets out of bed);

- Pete never, ever has nightmares. In nearly six years, I can recall his having only one; and

- What kid goes to his sister when he has a nightmare, anyway?

I'm telling you, I need to get my mommy radar fixed.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Mess of the Day # 23 & # 24: Peaches and Underwear

Our model is sporting the newest line from Fruit of the Loom. I hear that Spiderman will be red hot this fall . . .

I would have had # 25 to post as well, but the evidence was gone before I could get the camera. She had stuck Band-Aids all over her legs and around each toe. I couldn't believe I missed the photo op, because she has always been good about keeping Band-Aids on!

Peach update: The one in the picture isn't the only one she nibbled on! I have just found 2 peach pits under the table (her favorite hideout when she's sneaking food!). What a little toot!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Mess of the Day # 21 and #22 : Art Supplies

I am so sorry that I haven't posted since I got back from my vacation. I have been having some health issues that started while I was on vacation, and it has been incredibly hard for me to get caught up on everything. (To give you an inkling of how it's been going, I still have not completely unpacked and cleaned out the van and we've been home since July 15!) I'd rather not go into detail on what's been going on with me, but I promise, it's nothing serious! The issues are not resolved 100%, but I'm feeling MUCH better. Actually, the side effects of some medications I was on were worse than anything, and thankfully I'm done with all of those!

I will post about my vacation - which was WONDERFUL, BTW! - another time, because I haven't felt like uploading all the pictures, etc. (I have so many that I need to find a website where I can share entire photo albums.) In the meantime, I want to share some sweet and funny things that the kids have done and said recently.

At one point, while I was on several medications and felt SO bad because I had been unable to sleep for several nights in a row, I got really depressed. (This was also partly due to a side effect of one of the medications.) Everything was getting to me: I was laying around all day and watching the house get trashed while I did nothing about it; the laundry was piling higher and higher; I didn't feel like playing with the kids; and everything was falling further and further behind. I was also bummed because I had huge plans to complete several projects around the house after we got back and before we started school, and of course they haven't been touched. I felt like I had been robbed of my summer. I told myself that I was a horrible mother because my kids were stuck at home all day with a slug of a mom who laid in bed 24/7. I commented to Drama Queen, "Honey, I'm so sorry that I haven't felt like playing. I wish I could do something special with you, but I just don't feel like it. I will as soon as I'm feeling better." She replied, "Oh, Mommy, we're already doing something special. We're together everyday!"

I bawled my eyes out. What a blessing she is!

Pete has been so helpful. When I was feeling my worst, I tried not to rely too much on Drama Queen. It would be so easy to do that because she is so responsible, but I have to remind myself that she got that way partly because she has been given so much responsibility. So, I try hard to give Pete the same opportunities. He felt like such a big shot the day I let him fix lunch all by himself! He has also been great about entertaining Screech.

Screech was actually pretty good on my worst days. It was simply a matter of slogging through until lunchtime, after which I could put her to bed and enjoy a 2-3 hour respite. (God has showered me with blessings in this regard; all of my kids have been excellent sleepers and nappers!) She did manage to get into a few things, though. There was more to get into because Drama Queen and Pete weren't putting things away (and I wasn't up to making sure that they did). Here is her latest handiwork:

I would like to personally thank the people who invented Magic Erasers, as well as the people who invented washable paint, crayons and markers! I don't even allow non-washable art supplies in the house anymore. I have a few Sharpies and permanent markers, but they are well hidden. Even Hubby, Drama Queen and Pete don't know where they are!

I'm going to try to get back into the blogging groove this week. Talk to you again soon!